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Political activists besiege television station in attempt to force broadcast of their leader's statement

(ANEM/IFEX) - The following is an ANEM press release:

ANEM CONDEMNS ATTEMPTED FORCED ENTRY IN KRAGUJEVAC TELEVISION AND PRESSURES ON EDITORIAL MEDIA FREEDOMS

BELGRADE, May 21, 2008 - The Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM) strongly condemns an attempt at forced entry by followers of "Radnicki otpor" ("Workers' Resistance" movement), a political organization, into the premises of Kragujevac Television station. Some 50 followers of the movement gathered in front of TV Kragujevac premises on Monday, May 19, insisting that a statement by their leader, Radisa Pavlovic, regarding alleged election theft in some polling stations, be recorded. Their attempt to enter the building was prevented by police.

ANEM would like to stress that it is extremely important for all participants in the political process to refrain from any attempt to limit freedom of speech and free access to public information, all according to the provisions of the Public Information Act. ANEM would also like to reiterate that any physical or other pressure on media organizations and their employees is absolutely unacceptable; according to existing laws and regulations, it is also forbidden to exert such pressure.

ANEM would also like to stress that the behaviour and activities of electronic media in relation to elections and political campaigns are regulated in detail both by the law and by the general mandatory instructions and recommendations of the Republic Broadcasting Agency. These acts and laws clearly and unequivocally insist on equal reporting, and forbid any form of discrimination against participants in the election process. They also envisage that the Republic Broadcasting Agency be tasked with monitoring the broadcasters' work, especially in relation to their following of the rules on reporting on elections and campaigns. At the same time, these laws and regulations guarantee editorial freedom and independence in the choice of ways and volume of reporting on election processes.

ANEM strongly condemns all attempts by any participant in the elections to use threats and pressure to violate editorial freedom and to influence the choice of ways and scope of reporting. ANEM expresses its full solidarity with editors, journalists and other professionals of Kragujevac Television, and calls on the relevant institutions to decisively defend media freedoms that are guaranteed by the Constitution and the country's laws.

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